The Japan men’s national basketball team fell to 0-2 in group play after a loss to Slovenia on Thursday afternoon local time.
Washington Wizards forward Rui Hachimura for Japan and Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic for Slovenia were the headline matchup of the game, and they didn’t disappoint on an individual level. Hachimura scored 34 points on 13-of-28 shooting, grabbed 7 rebounds and dished 3 assists. Doncic scored 25 points on 8-of-15 shooting, dished 7 assists and grabbed 7 rebounds of his own. I think we can all say that Hachimura won the individual game here.
But Slovenia, the reigning 2017 EuroBasket champions have more talent in the NBA, EuroLeague and EuroCup than the Japanese. That showed as the game went through, especially in a 36-17 fourth quarter when the game was all but decided. The stat of the game for Slovenia’s success was their 27 team assists as opposed to Japan who had just 15.
For Japan, Toronto Raptors forward (and GW alum) Yuta Watanabe scored 17 points. Makoto Hiejima, who plays in Japan’s B League was the only other player to score double digits, 10 points to be exact. They and Hachimura scored 61 of Japan’s 81 points.
Meanwhile for Slovenia, Doncic was their leading scorer. But Denver Nuggets reserve forward Vlatko Cancar scored 16 points and Zoran Dragic, who plays for Spanish and EuroLeague Saski Baskonia had 24. Five Slovenes scored in double figures.
Japan’s last game in group play is on Sunday, Aug. 1 when they play Argentina. Gametime is at 12:40 a.m. ET.